Back in the Saddle

 

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My first bike commute of 2017 after one of our many stormy days of this great January weather.
My commute is one of the most important parts of my life. I know that is an extremely strange thing for a modern, office-dwelling US individual to say, but in my case it’s true. And it’s because of one reason: I commute on my bicycle. Bike commuting is one of the bedrocks of my life. It starts my day right: I think about the day ahead, daydream, take photos, listen to music … all the while pedaling.

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More scenes from that gorgeous first day on the bike. 

 Especially with the completion of the McCarran bike path and it’s interlinking with the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway and the river path, my commute is Reno has become a great pleasure. From our doorstep to downtown Reno I travel along (well on one side busy McCarran) the UNR Farms, a great piece of the remaining green space in the Truckee Meadows, then along the river path whose twists and turns reveal and hide the river’s trace, Mount Rose, Peavine. It also reveals a lot of industrial development, and heartbreaking scenes of homeless people, illegal immigrants, and other tortured souls carrying out their days. It is sobering to see the juxtaposition of our area’s great beauty with the pain that modern existence engenders in so many. But even that makes my day become real, and reminds me to keep myself in check, that my problems are just a tiny drop in a vast ocean.

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Filled with gamblers, from outside the GSR is a landmark on the river path. Here from my second ride home of the year. 

I have always been a bike commuter, at least ever since I arrived in Eugene, Oregon. Those bikes and moments stay with me. Riding across town on my first commuter, a classic Schwinn Cruiser. Bike/bus commuting from our home way out on the Mackenzie River and then riding Manhattan on my Trek mountain bike. The Surly came into my life in Richmond, where it carried me sweating across town and Miami, and Reno. The only city I ever lived in where I don’t think I ever bike commuted was Santiago, Chile, for one summer/winter.

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The UNR farms on my way to work this morning. 

But this year has not started promising on the bike commute front. A combination of the weather (which has been impressive) and lethargy have kept me behind the wheel of an automobile. On Friday I rode for only the second time this year. And the paths were fine, and then we had a great biking weekend, and then I biked again today, so some rhythm is building.

But I’m still behind. I’ve worked 18 workdays so far in 2017 and I have bike commuted 3 times, so 16.66%. I should be well over 50% so this situation won’t last for sure. I’m keeping track and am going to see how fast it takes for me to get back over 50% and then if I can keep up the momentum and going to keep my stats for the year for days on bike versus days in the tube. If I don’t drive again, I should make it back to over 50% pretty much toward the end of February. We’ll see how it goes!

Dreaming about a day on our bikes in the South Egans

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The first lighting of the South Egans and Shingle Peak, which would be our companion for most of the day.

August 23, 2015. Camped in the shadow of an old windmill. Long day today, but beautiful and high spirits.

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Our Kirch camp. Where we had spent Renee’s birthday the day before.

Started pretty early. The storms pushed out the smoke and when we awoke before sunrise all of the mountains around were crystal clear. It didn’t take long for the haze to make its way back though.

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This is how you begin a day!

First thing detour to the Hot Creek pool where we bathed alone in the soft light. Tremendous and now when I am trying to sleep among all of the things from today it is what I want to remember.

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Renee feeling her oats at the start of the Shingle Pass climb.

The morning ride out to the highway and to the rest area was silky smooth, mostly. A nice trucker at the rest area was very curious about us and offered us water bottles. The first of only two people we interacted with all day. Then a few miles up a rather corrugated highway and we were on Shingle Pass Road. There was a guy with an ATV there, interaction number 2, we asked him about the road, which he was right about, it’s been great, but he also said there was “lots” of water in Cave Valley, this bit of knowledge certainly hasn’t gushed forth haha so we have a dry camp, due to a mishap I’ll share in due time.

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Shingle Peak.

From the turn of Shingle Pass up to the mountains a bright steep line of gravel road daunting although Renee says it didn’t bother her too much. She did spook a cow through the fence, in all fairness to the side it looked it should have been on in the first place. Otherwise just pedaling, steady, in low gear straight up; our only marks of progress noted by looking back or watching the looming cliffed mass of Shingle Peak grow nearer like a castle protecting the pass from marauding giants or dragons, but now haunted and fallen into ruins. It dominated the skyline for the majority of the day.

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A grand day and a grand place and a grand girl. Life is good!

So up and up, eating here, resting in the shade there. My shoes still hurting tried adjusting more often but nothing does the trick so finally switched to sneakers, which also hurt but nothing so bad. Finally crested Shingle Pass and after some lunch started whoopty-doing the way down over these tremendous shining white rolling hills into the Cave Valley. The mountains beyond striking cliff faces glowing white and gray.

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Hijinks descending into Cave Lake Valley.

In the bottom a nice ranch, but, on the last up and down pinched a tire. Stopped to fix it and found out that the big dromedary, which had been inside the dry bag, was leaking from its lid. We lost maybe a third of its water and so that’s why we’re on water rations although we’re only about 20 miles to Ward Charcoal Ovens where there should be water. Put a spin of excitement and through combination of dehydration and power of suggestion I feel thirsty.

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The places we find ourselves and where we want to be.

Walked up hill behind the camp and sat in juniper shade for a while looking at our tiny camp below. Ate cold mini bagels and then dived into bed. Our plan to get to Ward early. Goodnight.

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Our dry camp from the hill above.

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Good night from the Egans.

NOTE: It’s a tired, cold night here in Reno and I feel like daydreaming about some places and adventures, so I’ve taken my journal entry from the day and added pictures. I’ve started a new category for memory lane trips I want to share, Day Dreaming. Just a couple of notes about the route: We passed Whipple Caves. It was just a ways off the road, but given that you need to know what in the heck you are doing and have special equipment in order to access, and that it apparently doesn’t show much just from the top, we passed. But this account of a visit is well worth reading. And we went near and along the Far South Egan Range Wilderness.